Thursday, May 7, 2009

John Varley's "Bagatelle" (novelette, terrorism, free): Defusing a human bomb

Quote from short story titled Bagatelle by John VarleyIn spite of the subject, it's a very light read - sometimes even funny.

Story summary.

Hans Leiter has agreed to become an unusual kind of suicide bomber - a cyborg bomb. Stripped of body - just his brain & nerves leading to it will go into this bomb. And it is a nuclear bomb - capable of devastating a whole city. The cyborg that is the man + bomb + a vehicle + the sensors that let the cyborg perceive & respond to environment. The bomb has planted itself in the middle of a busy shopping area, & has announced its intention to blast in 4 hours!

This is the story of defusing this complex bomb - Chief of Municipal Police for New Dresden, Anna-Louise Bach, has hired the bomb disposal expert Roger Birkson for the job. New Dresden is a city on moon, where the action happens.

Fact sheet.

First published: Galaxy, October 1976.
Rating: A.
Download full text from Internet Archive.
An audio version of this story is included, among other things, in Aural Delights #32 podcast of StarShipSofa.
Included in Ellen Datlow's SciFiction classics.
Related: Stories about terrorism, cyborgs, or moon.